I try, whenever I can, to participate with a local running group on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Pacers holds “fun runs” on those evenings and it’s a nice chance to see some fellow runners and friends and tackle things like the horrors of the Custis Trail (and its 900 hills), or wonder how long until a car tries to run us over as we hoof it through Old Town Alexandria.
The Clarendon location of Pacers, as part of their gearing up for the inaugural Battle of the Boulevard 10K, has gotten sponsorship from Brooks for their Thursday night runs. I’ve missed those runs up until this week, but was happy to finally get to participate last night. The theme of the evening was a scavenger hunt, where everyone was given a little laminated sheet of paper with 11 questions on it about the evening’s running route. And just like that, we were off.
Chris S. and I realized a fatal flaw in the evening’s plan almost instantly. Namely, ballpoint pens and laminated paper don’t often mix well. Doubly so while you’re running just under five and a half miles of nasty hills. Oops. Still, that didn’t stop us as we tried to look for the answers to each question while continuing to keep a steady pace. (Just under 9min/miles, which for this hard-as-nails course is a major victory in my book. Oh, how I hate the hills in my neighborhood. Especially those along the Custis Trail.) Once the ludicrousness of the situation had sunk in, we ended up laughing our heads off at the idea of even trying to puzzle through the 11 questions and enjoyed the run.
Well, enjoyed the run while still keeping an eye cocked for the answers. After all, the first place prize was a $125 gift certificate for Brooks shoes and gear, and I’m not going to say no to that, right?
When we finished, sheets of paper were handed out that you could actually write your answers on, and then everyone adjourned around the corner to Mr. Days where appetizers plus one round of beers were provided courtesy Brooks as well. Chris had to leave early but I stuck around (and ran into Elvis from last year’s AIDS Marathon program, which was a nice surprise) and had a lite beer (which bizarrely actually tasted good) and one or two small munches of food. Finally, the results were in, with the organizers first reading off the answers before then saying who won what. When I realized I had gotten nine of the eleven answers correct and the fifth-place winner had gotten much less, I knew things were looking very promising indeed.